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responding to change and institutional challenges what if web 2 0 really changes everything

Responding To Change And Institutional Challenges:What if Web 2.0 Really Changes Everything?

Acceptable Use Policy

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Brian Kelly


University of Bath

Bath, UK


Tag for session: ‘cetis-2007-conference-institutional-challenges’

UKOLN is supported by:

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat)

the scenario
The Scenario
  • For this session imagine:
    • You’re a small organisation with few developers (and they tend to leave)
    • You’re a developer and you want to do interesting development
    • You’re a user, and you want to make use of technologies without being told by the IT Services crowd what you should do
    • You’re a member of the Senior Management Team – and budget cuts are looming
  • How can Web 2.0 be used to support these scenarios?

Note after coffee you will explore the issues from a developer’s perspective

what if web 2 0 changes everything
What If Web 2.0 Changes Everything?
  • What you may expect:
  • What If Web 2.0 Changes Everything?
  • Web 2.0 is about:
    • RSS, syndication
    • Blogs
    • Wikis
    • Cool interfaces – Ajax
    • Trusting your users
    • Yaddy, yaddy yada

Haven’t CETIS conference attendees being doing this for a long time? You know all this stuff!

what if web 2 0 really changes everything
What If Web 2.0 Really Changes Everything?
  • An alternative perspective:
  • What If Web 2.0 Really Changes Everything?
  • Web 2.0 is also about:
    • The network as the platform
    • Google, Yahoo, etc. as application providers
    • New business models (not just funded by the taxpayer or subscription services)
    • The wisdom of crowds
    • ‘Embracing constraints’ and ‘good enough’ solutions
  • Would we welcome this or feel threatened?
when two tribes go to war

..and response by Tony Hirst (OU) on concerns over the reliability of OU Intranet!

When Two Tribes Go To War
  • Recent (10 Nov 2007) post by Niall Schlater (OU) on concerns over the reliability of Slideshare …
when two tribes go to war1

Lots of reasons, responds Melissa Highton, Staff Development in a talk at next week’s “Exploiting The Potential Of Blogs and Social Networks” workshop.

When Two Tribes Go To War
  • Similar disagreements are taking place at Leeds University.
  • Why bother, asks Nigel Bruce, from the IT Services department?
exploring these tensions
Exploring These Tensions
  • Aims of today’s session is to explore these tensions:
    • Why the diversity?
    • How do we respond?
    • Is there a single answer or do we need to embrace the diversity?
  • Let’s explore the view of the keen Web 2.0ers
the real ie
The Real IE
  • Martin Poulter, ILRT on Technologies For Resource Sharing:
    • Embeddability
    • Services which can be embedded provide benefits for all
    • Wikipedia generates more traffic than HE Academy – so let’s be Wikipedia editors
    • Let’s use 3rd party wikis
  • Note see Intute blog post about response to my recent talk
  • The challenges
    • Managing the risks
    • Branding? Who cares (really?)

See <>

revisiting the ie nee dner
Revisiting The IE (nee DNER)
  • We had the early visions for the JISC DNER, developed by Andy Powell
  • I subsequently developed my view for how the DNER might develop:
    • Applications on the Web e.g. bookmarking (!) and word processing tools (Writely!)
web 2 0 as a dner development
Web 2.0 As A DNER Development
  • The DNER got a lot right:
    • Networked services
    • Lightweight standards
    • Importance of RSS
    • Trust (in the funded institutions)
  • What we missed, which Web 2.0 is providing:
    • Commercial providers of services
    • New business models (we were Old Labour)
    • Lightweight development
    • User-generated content (we thought it would be the professionals)
    • Trust – in the individuals
    • The power of the network – services which get better as more people use them
why we should all use web 2 0
Why We Should All Use Web 2.0
  • What we used to think:
    • We’re in HE, and we have IT Services to provide our IT needs (though we moan about them)
    • JISC builds on this to provide additional services
  • What we (should) now realise:
    • JISC & institutional services aren’t appropriate for:
      • Our family photos, our music, …
      • Use by our friends and families
      • For social networking
    • We need our personal risk management strategies (for our family digital heirlooms)
    • Institutions may feel a need to ensure students familiarise themselves with such services
    • Academics are likely to make use of such services in any case
can t we just do it in house
Can’t We Just Do it In-house?
  • Surely all we need to do is:
    • Use Ajax to enhance our user interfaces
    • Provide the popular (and increasingly expected) ‘favourite’, ‘comment’, ‘message; … social networking features within our own services and managed environments
    • We can then avoid the spam, porn, misuse, …
  • But:
    • Have we got the mindset, the development processes, …?
    • Can we expect to compete with the global providers - remember home-grown operating systems?
    • What about the 1-9-90 rule?
the 1 9 90 challenge

Globalisation talk

  • Potential Dangers:
    • Globalisation
    • Mono-culture
    • Unexpected dangers
    • Loss of impact

There are dangers associated with going down this route, with developing alternative approaches and doing nothing

The 1 – 9 – 90 Challenge
  • Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute

In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action. (Jakob Neilson, Oct 2006)

  • Potential Benefits:
    • Globalisation
    • Cross-fertilisation
    • Unexpected benefits
    • Maximising impact
why i m a fan of slideshare

Globalisation talk

  • More importantly:
    • Annotation facility
    • Slides can be ‘favourited’
    • I can see my fans, and the other slides they like
    • Amazon style “readers who bought this book also liked these”

Would this level of popularity be possible on an institutional or even national repository?

Why I’m A Fan of Slideshare

  • Slideshare:
    • Easy to upload slides
    • Can be embedded in Web pages
    • Statistics provided
open development
Open Development
  • Truly open development helps deliver sustainable open source applications, such as Apache (Ross Gardler, JISC OSS Watch)
  • Open development can also help provide enhance quality of ideas and provide sustainable content, communities, …

Readers & contributors to UK Web Focus blog come from all over globe

is it risky

Globalisation talk

Is It Risky?

  • Scenario
  • What happens if a third party provider goes out of business?
  • Application Elsewhere
  • What will happen to our life savings if our bank goes out of business? Do we keep our money under the mattress?
  • And note recent Guardian headline “Secret List of Universities Facing Collapse”

There’s a need for risk assessment, risk management, etc. But this also applies when you are developing software, procuring development work, etc.


Some facts

  • People are going to talk about you…
  • … down the pub, in the local post office or on a social networking site or blog… they’ll still talk… they still say the same things…
  • The boundaries are blurred; it’s common to mix business/study with pleasure
  • Students don’t come into Uni and leave their personal lives at home…
    • … but neither do staff!!!

Slides from talk on “Put Yourself Out There” by Alison Wildish, Head of Web Services, Edge Hill University at UKOLN workshop on “Exploiting The Potential Of Blogs and Social Networks” on 26 Nov 2007.


Regardless of any institutional policy our students and staffwill use social networking sites

Image courtesy of Wanderer and Wonderer on Flickr

living in a blended world
Living In A Blended World
  • We’ve been through changing times before:
    • Demise of mainframe • Growth of PCs
    • Demise of Computer Board • Growth of Google
  • Need to engage:
    • The stuff that just works
    • Supporting distributed team working
  • Need to understand:
    • The stuff that users use, place they go(e.g. Facebook, Slideshare, …)
  • Need to embed (it’s not surrender):
    • Enhancing quality of 3rd party services
    • Content in Wikipedia

Just do it

  • Times have changed
  • The simplicity of the past won’t return
  • We need to
    • Reflect on our past (successes and failures)
    • Understand what makes successful services
    • Engage with success
    • Identify our (possibly new) roles
  • If we do this, we can continue to thrive


  • Things to think about:
    • Is this a realistic vision?
    • Is this what people are thinking?
    • What are the problems?
    • Can the problems be managed?
my thoughts
My Thoughts

SLAs with students


Legal issues



Change control


Multiple IDs

In-house tensions, arguments

Service limitations

No strategic vision

  • Any questions?